Apple may be planning to revisit its old PDA days. A patent filed at the United States Patent And Trade Organization (USPTO) shows a device designed mainly for stroke-based handwriting; nevertheless it looks promising as a handwriting recognition system.
With the title of “Managing Real-Time Handwriting Recognition,” the patent lists the system as “a real-time, stroke-order and stroke-direction independent handwriting recognition is provided for multi-character or sentence level Chinese handwriting recognition.”
In sketches submitted alongside the application, it shows the system accepting either pen-based or finger-based inputs. This may be an indication that the system can be deployed on both the iPad and iPhone, but as this is just a filing nothing is concrete until it is announced officially.
The last Apple product with handwriting recognition was the Apple Newton, debuted in 1993. Steve Jobs once said in 2010 that a stylus is not needed for mobile devices. As the world consumer market expands to include societies with gesture-based handwriting, this patent could be a sign that Apple is rethinking that policy.